PJM files wholesale deal, ground broken for Indiana Michigan Power solar project

PJM Interconnection on June 1 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission an executed Wholesale Market Participation Agreement with American Electric Power Service Corp., as agent for Indiana Michigan Power as both the solar project developer and the interconnecting transmission owner.

“PJM is submitting this Agreement for filing because the Wholesale Market Participant intends to engage in wholesale sales in the PJM markets from a generating facility connected to the Transmission Owner’s distribution facilities,” said PJM.

This project is under PJM Queue Position #Z2-113. It is the Watervliet Solar Facility, to be located east of the East Watervliet station at 9319 Red Arrow Hwy, Watervliet, Michigan. The Maximum Facility Output is 4.6 MW. It is a ground-mounted, inverter-based, solar photovoltaic generating facility consisting of solar arrays and a 12 kV high side transformer.

Under this wholesale deal, on or before Dec. 15, 2016, Indiana Michigan Power as the project developer must demonstrate commercial operation of all generating units.

Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an operating unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), on June 1 held a groundbreaking ceremony for this, its first solar power plant in Michigan, on a 35-acre site just east of Watervliet. The Watervliet Solar Power Plant will have more than 50,000 solar panels and generate up to 4.6 MW.

“I&M is pleased to add solar power to our fleet of emission-free generation sources in Michigan,” said Paul Chodak III, President and Chief Operating Officer of I&M. “Four decades after our Cook Nuclear Plant began generating carbon-free energy in Michigan, this solar power plant is part of a pilot project that will play a significant role in I&M’s use of the sun to provide energy. I&M already uses wind, water and nuclear energy to generate half of our power, and solar is yet another emission-free energy source.”

The Watervliet plant is one of four solar power plants in I&M’s Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project. The Deer Creek plant near Marion, Ind., has been operational since late in 2015. Construction has already begun at the Twin Branch and Olive plants, both in St. Joseph County, Indiana. All three of the Michiana solar plants will be generating energy for customers by the end of 2016. Together, the four plants will have the capacity to generate about 15 MW. I&M said it will build upon the experience in generating solar energy and plants’ interconnection with the electric grid as the company looks to build additional solar plants in the future.

I&M contracted with First Solar Inc., a global leader in photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions, to build the three Michiana area plants.

Indiana Michigan Power is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,450 employees serve more than 589,000 customers. It operates 2,600 MW of coal-fired generation (the Rockport power plant) in Indiana, 2,160 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states. The company also provides its customers 450 MW of purchased wind generation and, by the end of 2016, approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.